For those who could never live without one, a dishwasher is more than just a means of cleaning up after meals. A dishwasher is a live-in housekeeper, a training system for children's chores and a radical act of self-care or couples' therapy. (Unless, of course, you frequently argue about how to best load it. Fortunately, we have a definitive guide to. Case closed.)
Finding the best dishwasher in 2022 isn't as simple as it sounds. Dishwashers are relatively standard in size -- typically 24 inches wide and about 35 inches high -- so choosing the perfect model one for you is more a matter of your available budget and what kind of options oryou want. In terms of dishwasher functionality, many rating sites, including CNET, have previously concluded that the you use and properly loading the dishwasher are often more important than the dishwasher itself when it comes to getting your dishes sparkling clean. What higher prices typically get you are more racks, , smart features, numerous cycle options and peace and quiet, not appreciably cleaner dishes. (Though some may get you appreciably drier dishes.)
If you're wondering how much a dishwasher should cost, a typical model with a variety of options runs between $600 and $1,100, with several good choices falling below that range and higher-end models offering more than you could even imagine you might need except for the device to actually load itself.
I evaluated a number of the most popular models with a range of features and in several price points to bring you the best built-in dishwashers for 2022.
For features versus price where overall user rating is concerned, Bosch's 300 Series dishwasher is among the most highly rated across several major retailer sites, coming in just below average in price for the number of amenities it offers. Its large capacity holds up to 16 place settings, it includes a desirable third rack, and it offers an adjustable middle rack to accommodate larger items, as well as flexible tines in the lower rack for even more versatile loading. Five wash cycles are available: heavy, auto, normal, rinse and hold and a speedy one-hour cycle, with four additional modes such as delay start, half load, sanitize and extra dry. With a quieter-than-average decibel level of 44, this is the best overall dishwasher to buy for what it offers. Bosch also offers 100, 500 and 800 series dishwashers in different price points that also maintain consumer popularity and high ratings.
In person, this was one of the slickest-looking dishwashers of the bunch. But beware, that sleek modern stainless look may get tarnished by fingerprints if you have little ones who tend to touch and grab everything in sight. I loved the adjustable top (third) silverware rack, in addition to a removable lower silverware rack, which felt sturdy and frees up space in the lower racks for plates, pans and other larger items.
- Home Depot rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 5,053 reviews
- Lowe's rating: 4.3 out of 5 based on 1,610 reviews
Many very good dishwasher options are available in the $500-to-$600 range, but for less than $500 for a full-size appliance, Whirlpool offers a reliable, no-frills model with over five figures of positive ratings, that still includes many of the amenities of the popular Bosch dishwasher above. An in-door silverware rack creates additional space in the basin, which can store up to 14 place settings. For your savings, you still get a stainless steel finish, as well as heavy, normal, high-temperature, and one-hour wash cycles, with sanitize and heated dry options. More expensive models tend to have soundproofing features that reduce the dishwasher noise while it's running. But at 55 decibels, this Whirlpool model is well within the range of the average noise level for dishwashers.
While this model wasn't as aesthetically pleasing in person, it had well-organized racks and was roomy inside. The front stainless steel panel also feels a hair flimsier than some of the others, so beware of dents.
- Home Depot rating: 4.3 out of 5 based on 13,461 reviews
- Lowe's rating: 4.3 out of 5 based on 10,599 reviews
With cycles that can run several hours, perhaps noise -- or lack thereof -- is the most important consideration for you, especially if your open-plan kitchen is close to your bedroom or nursery, or if it's also your office. Most standard dishwashers run in the 50-60 decibel range, which is just below the noise level of normal, indoor conversation. Many models now include additional technology that helps bring the noise level down to a very quiet 40-50 decibels, but this Kitchenaid model achieves an almost whisper-quiet level at only 39 decibels. In addition to being able to take a nap while the dishwasher is running, this high-end model also includes a third rack, a ProWash sensor that automatically adjusts the cycle for the soil level of the dishes and an extended heat dry option that can even evaporate the most determined drops on your plasticware.
This model reminded me of the Bosch SHEM63W55N both inside and out with its slick, modern design. The top silverware rack is slim but sturdy. The adjustable middle rack was simple to operate and intuitive to move into position to accommodate items of varying sizes.
- Home Depot rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 1,396 reviews
- Lowe's rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 124 reviews
This smart LG dishwasher includes Wi-Fi capability that allows it to communicate with other devices, meaning you can start or lock the machine remotely from a mobile phone app or even by voice activation within the house. Additionally, LED lights allow you to see inside the dishwasher during the cycle, giving it almost babysitter-like power if your kids or pets are also fascinated by the washing machine. You pay a little extra for the smart capabilities, but otherwise, the LG offers the same variety of wash cycles as the Bosch model above, as well as a third rack and adjustable upper rack, accommodating up to 15 place settings. At 42 decibels this is also one of the more quiet options on the market.
If minimalist design appeals to you, this dishwasher hides its control panel and buttons inside the dishwasher on the top of the door, giving the front panel a nice, clean look. The LED lights that activated when I opened the door were bright to help spot fallen forks or unclean dishes. This model felt as sturdily built as any I had the pleasure of vigorously opening, closing and jostling about.
- Home Depot rating: 4.3 out of 5 based on 886 reviews
- Lowe's rating: 4.3 based on 606 reviews
In the 18-inch-wide department, Samsung offers a consistently highly rated dishwasher that is also budget-friendly for the number of amenities it contains. Tines in the bottom rack fold down to allow for larger items, and it can hold up to eight place settings in its normal configuration. It runs at a very quiet rate of 46 decibels, and in addition to its five available cycles with four modes, it includes an auto-release door that opens the dishwasher and allows air to circulate in quickly, cooling your clean dishes and improving drying performance.
Despite its downsized dimensions, this model still had seemingly plenty of space inside for even a family sized load of dishes. Like the LG, this Samsung has its controls set into the top of the door so there's only a clean stainless steel panel to look at when the door is shut. The top rack is adjustable and was easy to maneuver.
- Home Depot rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 60 reviews
How we evaluate dishwashers and best list methodology
I researched the dishwashers in this list by analyzing specs and user reviews from major retailer sites such as Home Depot, Lowe's and Best Buy. I also considered their best-selling and top-rated models and their available features compared to price. I focused on those models that had a rating of at least 4.5 stars with at least 500 ratings, or at least the highest rating among the highest number of ratings for the feature or size I was evaluating.
Only those dishwashers that wereby the EPA were considered, for peace of mind concerning energy efficiency. I dove deep into user comments and ratings to ensure there were no persisting problems, issues or complaints among a particular brand or model. While we didn't do extensive hands-on testing for this list of best dishwashers, I was able to get my hands on several models in various appliance showrooms to evaluate the build of the unit and the intuitiveness of the buttons and controls.
Dishwasher buying guide: Things to consider
The size of your dishwasher is the first decision you'll make since not all kitchens have the space to accommodate a full-sized model. Most standard models are 24 inches wide and about 35 inches high and kitchens are generally designed to fit house a model of those dimensions, but there are slimmer dishwashers to accommodate smaller spaces.
Choosing a style
Most dishwashers are available in stainless steel, which fits into most kitchen motifs. Many models are also available in white, black and other finishes. You won't find tons of color options butthat includes unique finishes including navy steel and brownish Tuscan steel.
The pricier models including Bosch and KitchenAid tend to have sleek, minimalist front doors and flashier internal design. More budget-friendly brands such as Whirlpool and Maytag have more traditional aesthetics, generally speaking.
Dishwasher racks and rack placement
This is an easily overlooked feature but it has a significant impact on your day-to-day dishwashing. A new trend is the small third flat rack at the top that can accommodate extra silverware, kitchen utensils and other smaller items. They are typically in addition to an upright silverware holder housed in the bottom rack. If you find yourself filling or overfilling a standard silverware holder on a regular basis, this feature will allow you to wash everything and keep things neat and tidy.
Many dishwashers also now have adjustable racks to accommodate dishes and pans of odd or abnormally large sizes. If you've ever struggled with fitting large items into your dishwasher, you should consider a model with adjustable racks.
Various dishwasher cycles and features: Do they matter?
There are dishwasher cycles that come standard on nearly every model -- normal, quick wash, heavy-duty, delicate -- but fancier units will have even more specific cycles such as mineral-assisted wash and presoak cycle. These extra cycles can be nice to have but I wouldn't weigh them too heavily when making a purchase decision. Ultimately, you'll be using the standard cycles far more than the niche ones.
Here's a quick.
Drying cycles: Condensation versus electric drying
Most dishwashers have one of two ways to dry dishes after wash. Many use a condensation process where the dishwasher will use very hot water to heat the dishes inside toward the end. Then, as the tub cools with the hot dishware, condensation will occur and water will drip off the dishes.
Other dishwashers, including some KitchenAid models, have an electric heating element to heat the air and dry dishes at the end. This may be a more thorough way to dry the dishes but it's also less sanitary, less energy-efficient and will melt plastic items that are on the bottom rack since they are so close to the heating element.
Dishwasher noise level
While dishwashers generally have more in common than they do differences, the noise level is one area in which they do vary and may affect your overall satisfaction with a particular unit. Most modern dishwashers are pretty quiet, reaching only 40 or 50 decibels. But some, like the, have advanced technology to keep the machine as hush-hush quiet as 39 decibels when running. If you look into the specs section of each model, this information should be listed clearly.
What is the average lifespan of a dishwasher?
Manufacturers will tell you a dishwasher should last about 10 years but you might expect to get a few more years out of it than that if you don't overuse the machine and take some quick steps to keep it running smoothly.
There are things you can do to extend the life of your dishwasher like scraping off solid foods from plates and pans before loading, cleaning the filter monthly and never putting vinegar inside your dishwasher, as CNET's Katie Teague explains.
What are the different styles of dishwashers?
Dishwashers are fairly standard in size -- 24 inches wide by 35 inches tall -- with some narrower, 18-inch options also available. Beyond those two customary widths, the major aesthetic decisions you are making are in the dishwasher's finish, the handle type and whether the controls are located on the front panel of the dishwasher or hidden along the top of the loading door, referred to as "front control" or "top control" in the search features.
Most available dishwashers allow you to make specific selections among those features once you've decided on a particular size and model. Then your decision becomes a matter of what additional features you desire in a dishwasher and what's available for your budget. The higher-end models are smart-enabled, offer a third rack and adjustable rack settings, numerous wash cycle selections and also have bonus features such as leak sensors and self-cleaning filters. Budget-friendly options may have fewer features, but you should still expect at least a few wash cycle selections with perfectly clean and dry dishes at the end of any given cycle.
When is the best time to buy a dishwasher?
According to a report by Consumer Reports and Gap Intelligence, dishwasher prices begin to dip at the start of summer culminating with the biggest drops in the months leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You should also scan appliance deals during Amazon Prime Day (July 12 this year) and the surrounding sales that it inspires from other major retailers.
What is the difference between a plastic and stainless steel dishwasher tub?
Along with soundproofing technology, the other matter which has the biggest impact on a dishwasher's price is whether the tub is made of stainless steel, heavy-duty plastic or as in only a few models, a stainless steel hybrid. Stainless steel models tend to be slightly more efficient since they conduct heat and can more easily maintain temperature during cycles, but most plastic tub models are also Energy Star Certified and should not present an energy efficiency concern. There is no major difference in durability between plastic and stainless steel tubs, with both types of dishwashers tending to last about 10 years.
Should I get a dishwasher warranty and how important is it?
Your dishwasher should last you about 10 years without requiring any major repairs but, of course, a warranty is a good thing to have if something goes wrong soon after you take it home. Most warranties from the major brands outlined here cover replacement parts and labor for one year from the date you purchased it and are designed to protect you should there be a major manufacturer flaw in your model.
It is worth noting that Maytag appliances include a generous, limited 10-year warranty that covers certain replacement parts after the first year warranty expires. Meanwhile, you can potentially extend the efficacy and lifespan of your dishwasher by taking care of it, with CNET's guide to how to clean your dishwasher.